Can We Really Trust the BBC to Bring us Real Experts?

The BBC recently used male “experts” to discuss breast cancer and teenage pregnancy. Just read this article courtesy of the Guardian.  So, they asked women who had breast cancer, survivors, people who had been through treatment, women who had advised on treatment? Sort of, for anecdotal evidence. The report on breast cancer being discussed was on distress and impact. On whom? Women! Yet a man was interviewed about it? For the teenage pregnancy piece it asked a young woman who had a child when a teenager, a mother of a pregnant teenager, a woman at least? Nope. A man. So of course they had great insight. NOT.  Caroline Criado-Perez writes a really interesting article here about the BBC’s messages it gives out on experience and expertise.

Stop making excuses BBC
BBC makes excuses for not having female experts. Ludicrous

How on EARTH can a man know what it is like to be a woman? Never mind one with breast cancer. How on EARTH can a man put himself in the position of a teenage girl never mind one who is pregnant? Any sensible man asked to do that would laugh in the questioner’s face and say “Don’t be so ridiculous”.  Now, I am a great believer in the arts and the use of drama to teach just about anything (and that’s another worry for anyone who cares about education taking the arts out of the Ebacc) and so believe role play is very important in getting people to empathise and all that. But seriously, that’s not what is going on here is it?! The opinion is being asked for by a so called expert in the field. It isn’t a lesson aimed at people sharing and learning from each other and seeing other people’s points of views is it?!

I don’t think there is any discussion to be had! It is quite simple. If you want an expert in a certain field, particularly one that requires experience and/or ability to empathise you don’t ask someone unable to do that however much knowledge they may have. It is insulting to all concerned.  It is quite ludicrous for the BBC to say that they were unable to find women. Criado-Perez and her co-founder, Catherine Smith founded The Women ‘s Room UK a site for women to register as experts for the media. Within 48 hours they had 40 people register. So the BBC couldn’t even put out a single Tweet? Rubbish. Why couldn’t they do that? Laziness? Stupidity? Apathy?  It’s not rocket science (bet they’d get a man to speak on that though!) Get me in that BBC on the Board I’d soon sort them all out I can tell you!

But seriously, it’s like my saying (point 8) that if you are a company selling to children/young people/families and you aren’t involving them in feedback and development then you are missing a trick and what about the people you don’t know you aren’t getting feedback from? (point 7) Similarly “Points of View” and focus groups have their limitations. The BBC needs to get ahead and involve its viewers more. The customers. If only the BBC was more innovative involving their customers! Is that too scary a thought for them? Perhaps we the customers know best and the BBC Powers That Be might be surprised by how much expert advice it gets.

I asked the question on a LinkedIn Q & A and someone thought that my saying that you need a female to answer questions on how a female feels about having breast cancer or be a female to understand being pregnant as a teenager made me prejudiced and offensive. I like to think of myself as unprejudiced and well I can certainly be offensive but I don’t believe that this point of view is either of those things!

What do you think are the reasons for such a shortage of female experts on the BBC?

So, if you are a woman or know a woman who is an expert in her field get them to register on The Women’s Room UK or indeed Find a TV Expert

May 2014 update. Well, given that I have appeared on the BBC a few times now regarding complaining and consumer rights I’m not sure whether that is an improvement or not?!

Scare the Trick or Treaters The Complaining Cow Way!

I put in “Ideas for really frightening children at Halloween” into Google images. Up came a picture of Amy Childs and one of Boris Johnson. So look out for them trick or treating and make sure you scare them away so they don’t come back!

Dress your dog up for Halloween to scare the kids away

Right, I don’t care if you think Halloween is great fun and a good opportunity to go round to people’s houses and let your kids annoy, inconvenience and scare people they don’t know. It’s begging okay? If you have friends with whom you have agreed for your child/ren to trick or treat with that is not. That is agreeing a game. Going round to people’s houses and asking for sweets and money is begging and that’s illegal did you know? Simples. So many of the kids that do go begging don’t even make an effort with their costume, so they are lazy as well. How many collect for charity? You do? Really? Where’s your ID and paperwork?

The kids round our way know that the witch lives at our house so don’t bother! The bull accidentally did a trick a few years ago. He told them to come back later when I was in. They did and I sent them away with “A don’t come begging at my door” still ringing in their ears as they went along their merry way. Good trick eh?

On a cautionary note joking aside don’t let your kids go to doors of people they don’t know because it is rude frankly. But if you must do it please please please go with them. 1) To stop them actually getting into trouble and 2) It’s not actually safe to let kids roam streets knocking on random doors you know! Some people won’t be told though… I used to run open access play schemes and children as young as five would be sent out on their own to play…

Link to a poster to say no to trick or treating if you want to be a bit more polite than me at The Diary of a Frugal Family blog.

On Facebook I asked for some ideas for frightening children. Here are some tame and less tame ones should you need some inspiration.

1) Worm jelly
2) Push scary plastic hand through letterbox (with one finger missing optional)
3) Open door foaming at the mouth (milk shake or soap if you are feeling brave and shout “I have rabies”
4) Lie at the door under dark sheet and sit up and shout as the kids approach the door
5) Brussels wrapped up in foil and put in jelly
6) Race out of door dressed in white coat covered in fake blood and chainsaw in hand (blade not in there please!)
7) Let off fire extinguisher
8) Dress as the Black Reaper hidden in the darkness then just slowly appear as they walk towards the door
9) Dress your dog up like the picture
10) Cover onions in chocolate and put them on sticks
11) Put a sign up on the door saying “The Vagrancy Act 1824 (section 3) Enables the arrest of anybody who is begging”.
Or perhaps the most frightening of all….
12) Get The Complaining Cow to open the door…

Please add to the list here!

 

A New Programme Format! People on Their Own Gaining Redress from Companies!

Yesterday Martin Lewis asked for people who have had successes with gaining money back using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Obviously I have! More than once! Having good stories to tell I got in contact with Laura. She wanted me to come in to be interviewed this morning. I couldn’t because I wouldn’t have been able to get there in time (despite her kind offers of help). She told me that for the rest of the series they will be looking at people that need Martin’s help on various topics. This is the only segment where they needed to find people to talk about their success stories. For example, they’d be looking for someone who has had a private parking ticket further down the line, but not someone who has already successfully appealed against it. (Of course I have had success appealing a parking ticket!)

The excellent Watchdog, and charismatic Dominic Littlewood etc. all focus on people who need help in gaining redress. How about a programme showing people who are doing it without help?  Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a place for these informative programmes (even threatening to take matters to Watchdog is often enough to get what you want!) and they do cover the more difficult ones where often I would simply be taking the company to Court. (Yes done that and won too more than once!) However, in addition to this style of programme wouldn’t it be good to see normal people challenging CEOs on their customer service? Or simply gaining redress on simple matters? Wouldn’t that make for a different kind of programme? It would be just as helpful as the other types. Sometimes people watch Watchdog and think that there’s no point in trying to gain redress from companies because it’s too difficult, takes too long or they don’t have the knowledge. I would love to see (be part of even!) a programme where average people assert their legal rights and indeed are part of improving customer service with their feedback. This might encourage people to fight too! I’d give Anne Robinson a run for her money if I could speak with Phillip Clarke  CEO of Tesco who ignored me! More than once. Perhaps some more women on there too BBC?!

Would you like to see a programme where you see people fight back at companies treating them inappropriately? Find it interesting, useful, and/or helpful? Who wants to put the TV series proposal together?!

Shopping Yesterday

What cheesed me off?

Nothing enough to actually write a letter of complaint to anyone but after 3 hours at the Lakeside outlet here is my little list

1) M & S didn’t have a coat discounted from £68 to £14  in my size
2) Home and Sense in Romford had a vase, I went to get it at Lakeside they didn’t have it
3) Next didn’t have my size (I’m a 10/12!) in hardly anything I liked in their outlet
4) Boots only had self service checkouts going, really hate them!
Then here comes the one that will have irritated many of you I’m sure..
5) Long queue at Asda outlet. THREE people all standing on the shop floor doing nothing but watching the queue and talking to each other. They weren’t helping any customers because they were all in the queue.
Oh and another common irritant;
6) Discount price cards tagged through t shirts. Cut it off and there’s not one but 2 holes. Idiotic.

Now, you could say that there isn’t anything stores can do about the above. But there is actually. You know what sizes go first, make more of them! Have an order in service from other stores in the chain. Put at least one member of staff on a checkout, we know you are saving money but actually it’s easy to go somewhere else when just buying snacks so it backfires. Manage staff properly and encourage them to use their initiative such dealing with long queues and staff not doing anything! Have a written procedure for attaching cards to clothes! You’d think it was common sense but the ridiculous amount of times it happens it just supports my belief that common sense is a skill and a difficult one to teach at that. Encourage them to use their initiative! See here for more tips!

Got some bargains though so can’t complain too much….

But should you need to email the CEOs of the above here they are:

Contact Marks and Spencer CEO
Contact Asda CEO
Contact Next CEO
Contact Boots CEO and
Contact Home Sense

 

 

Tesco – Phillip Clarke is no Sir Terry Leahy

And a few years on we have Dave Lewis as the new group CEO and Matt Davies as the UK CEO being interviewed by me! (Although Tesco had full editorial control):

For links to lots more recent stories about Tesco and me including taking them to court and winning see Complaining Cow history with Tesco.

Tesco UK CEO email address

Tesco Group CEO email address

The post below is from 2012.

I had a right beef with Tesco! 

Tesco Service Omnishambles!

Diabolical! It was my latest dealings with Tesco Customer Service that gave me the final nudge to get this Blog started!

Update January 2015– I have realised that when you put “Tesco Complaints” into Google that this post comes up. Hilarious really. Since writing this post I have had more dealings with Tesco, including taking them to Court. Please see links to all these posts here.

Also people will insist on assuming that they can complain to me as if I were a Tesco employee. Rather foolish and obviously shows that they haven’t even read this post! Also, gives some indication perhaps as to why their complaint is being ignored by Tesco if they  don’t actually read things or are simply rude!

Tesco contacts for complaints
I also keep being asked for contact details for Tesco so here you are:

Tesco contact details:
email for customer services: customer.services@tesco.co.uk
email for CEO here
All Tesco departments contact details here. ‘phone numbers and addresses.

If you are looking for how to complain to Tesco, see the links are above and you might also be interested in using the book How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

Tesco – Phillip Clarke is no Sir Terry Leahy

Years ago I complained to Tesco when Tesco was doing well and when Sir Terry Leahy was CEO there. I got a personal response that was signed by him. One can assume that as the new incumbent Phillip Clarke  ignored several emails from me and the customer service is shambolic, that contempt for the customer is creeping in, perhaps a very good reason why Tesco has slipped from its top position.

Summary (all correspondence available on request!):

4th June took items ordered from Tesco Clothing online back to the store for refund. Had used double up vouchers. Customer Services representative did not know what to do and had to telephone Tesco. I was told that he needed to “…give [me] a few pennies and that somewhere between £5 and £10 will be credited to [my] account.” Told him not acceptable! More confusion and went back after shopping and was given misinformation and nothing in writing although I requested it.
4th June wrote to Clubcard no reply
12th June forwarded email to Customer Services requesting something done, pointing out that doubling up vouchers offer ended on the 13th June and £5 was still in the Clothing website account incorrectly, it should be on the Clubcard or £10 in Clothing otherwise it was a credit note and not a full refund
13th June forwarded email to Phillip Clarke Tesco CEO requesting something done
14th June Tweeted to Tesco and after several Tweets sent details on
15th June and got a reply that did not relate to the complaint but a previous one and made no sense!
15th June Tweeted as such to Tesco and emailed back. Told back in touch as soon as possible
15th June – received email stating that she was unable to work out what complaint to respond to (despite the actual email being in the body of the email and nothing else in the original email!) Offered £20
17th June – wrote back attaching the relevant email again and pointing out that I had now missed website offers due to their delay in responding
18th June – still no response
19th June in the evening – Tweeted that still not had response
19th June – Tesco told me email was in the queue. Reminded them that my original email was dated 4th June! Told that the manager could ‘phone but couldn’t email! Asked for that bizarre state of affairs to be added to the list of complaints! (Was never explained why she could ‘phone but not email!)
19th June – told would get a response by email soon as possible
21st June – still no response. Told would get that one that morning
21st June PM – got an email from the Executive team offered £40 Tesco Moneycard apologised but did not address all complaints, I emailed back as did he no further forward.
26th June – received an email from the Customer Relations Manager at Tesco apologising and saying that the CEO office had responded. I emailed back pointing out the 2 issues regarding not being able to take advantage of offers on the website due to the delay in responding had not been addressed
28th June – received email from Executive Office stating surprise that I had said 2 issues were not addressed and I had copied and pasted a paragraph from previous email which did not address them!
3rd July  – sent a clarification email, I also asked if he would like a link when my Blog was up and running!
6th July – agreed in part with what I said (he had no choice, I was left with money in my Clothing account against their own policy!) that’s the end of this matter at last. Would have been at the £40 but he went and wrote to me suggesting I was wrong and he certainly wasn’t going to get away with THAT!

I asked if they would like to pay me for my knowledge and experience of customer service and how they could improve. They declined my offer! How very silly!

Evaluation

This was a sorry state of customer service. So many people wasting so much of my time! So many not given the right tools. It reflects badly on Tesco too when you think this is how the CEO of Sainsbury’s responds to a complaint. A different league in CEOs from a customer’s point of view I’m sure you’ll agree?!

As you can see, it wasn’t about gaining money it was about the principle of the thing. Annoyingly I went to Tesco to use the Moneycard so I could then take my custom in future to Sainsbury’s and forgot to use the card! Dozy cow! But the next time I went I bought just over £40 of shopping had a £4 off voucher used a £10 Tesco gift card (I have forgotten what I complained about to get that!!) and the £40 card. £13 left. £40 worth of shopping and get £13 change! Amooooosed me!

Seriously though, in May of this year Which? published a Customer Service survey of 11,000 people. Tesco came 4th worst!  A change in focus from the new CEO at Apple from customer to revenue (remember Steve Jobs’ legacy Good enough is not good enough) is not helping their profits either!

Customer Service 2 out of 10
CEO 0 out of 10
Executive Office 6 out of 10
Prize £40

Update to this post. Do have a look at the other Tesco posts some are more amusing 🙂